There are a number of basic things you need to do to promote yourself and sell online.
Once you have an e-commerce website (like your free Ponoko Showroom) and you have populated it with some items for sale (like the ones you make with Ponoko), it’s time to attract the right buyers, keep them coming back and telling others about you.
And last week we started a 2 part series on how to get highly qualified search engine traffic to your product pages.
We talked about how it’s not about playing magic tricks. That we’ve already optimized your Showroom for search engine success and there are 2 key things for you to focus on:
1) Content: rich descriptions of your products, yourself, your process, etc, etc.
2) Popularity: getting other people to link to your website.
So last week we went into detail on #1. To summarize, it’s REALLY important that you do 2 things:
1) Add lots of (relevant) content to your Showroom — without it, you’re selling yourself short. You do not need to use sales language, in fact its best you don’t. You need to describe your product, how to use it, how you made it, your passion for it. That’s it. When you do this, you’ll get more people find you in search engines like Google.
2) After you’ve done #1 then optimize your content by adding in specific words and phrases that people are ACTUALLY using to find products like yours — this is where http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com/ comes in.
But if you do nothing else to promote your products and you are not into selling anything to anyone then you MUST add lots of great content to tell a story about it. This is key.
Now in tandem with the website optimization work we have done for your Showroom, the search engines will be able to pick up your content on their radars. Great!
Ok, ok! on to what we want to cover this week:
Now you have some great content, what’s really important now is to increase your online popularity.
Google will give your product a top ranking in its search results if your product page is the most popular among all the other web pages talking about the same sort of product.
So how do you become popular?
Well, you have great content AND you get as many other (quality) websites to link to your product page as you possibly can.
Now you don’t want to run out and buy links or join link farms or anything crazy like that. Instead you want to take your time, identify great websites and contact them to talk about you. And do this on a regular basis. If you did one per week, you’ll be VERY surprised with the results.
The great thing about building your link popularity is that it gives you 2 benefits — first you can get loads of traffic from the website that links to you and second you’ll rise up Google’s ranking, which means more traffic too. So when someone writes about you there’s a bit of a spike in traffic to your Showroom and then over time the search engine traffic will build and build quietly in the background and turn out to be the #1 source of new customers for you.
So the goal is to get as many websites to talk about you and link to you. You can do it via email, so it’s not difficult. And there is no rocket science.
But how do you find them and which ones do you choose?
There are 2 basic rules:
1) Choose sites that are relevant
Will they be interested in your product? I mean its kinda useless to contact someone at a motor mechanic website to talk about your jewelry product. So you need to be a match with them, otherwise they will not even consider talking about you and linking to you. Google will also give you a higher ranking if you are linked to by a set of (quality) websites that have a consistent theme.
2) Choose sites that are popular
It’s always good to start at the top and work down. Get some links. And go back to the top again. There are (at least) 2 ways to figure out who is popular:
• Check out how much traffic they are getting: enter their name into www.compete.com
• Check out their Google Page Rank: enter their name into http://www.prchecker.info/check_page_rank.php
As a basic rule of thumb it’s best to get links from other websites with a Google Page Rank of at least 3.
Easy right? Yes indeedy! As I say, there’s absolutely no rocket science here about how to get search engine traffic to your Showroom.
So the key question right now is where to start — where do you find the first website to check out its relevance and popularity, to then ask for a link?
There are multiple sources for finding websites to link to you.
Here’s the simplest way to get started:
1) Use Google to search for websites that are into designer stuff — the best websites are those who target a consumer / shopper audience. But don’t discount websites that target designers also; its great to get links from other designer crafted goods websites because this tells Google that you must be about this stuff too.
2) When you find a website that you’d like to be seen on, find someone to have a personal conversation with. Save their details so you can record who you have been in contact with. Some people will say yes immediately and some will take time.
3) If you have a blog, write about them. (We’ll talk about your blog in a future edition — bottom line is that you need a place to share information online and a blog is the perfect tool for this).
4) Now make contact. Send them an email to strike up a conversation.
5) Show what you have done for them and ask if you can do anything more for them. And remember to ask them to write about you. Give them a good reason.
6) Keep the relationship going. They may not write about you immediately but if there’s one thing you can count on, things change over time.
7) Go back to that website and search for other websites they are related to and repeat the process above.
Here’s an example.
First I searched Google for shopping websites. And I found http://shopping.alltop.com/ – great!
So I picked a few, including www.mightygoods.com. Then I did 2 things. First I checked out how much traffic the website got and how popular Google thought it was. It looked great and it really measured up. So I made contact with Maggie to let her know about Ponoko designers and products. I also clicked around her website and found 2 other very cool sites and found people to make contact with there too — www.shanalogic.com and www.kirtsy.com. And so on.
What you should do next!
Check out the Alltop.com website above and do exactly what I have done. Your goal is to get one link every week. In reality this means sending an email to at least 5 per week and in coming weeks following up those who have not engaged with you. When you have a new product is a great time to make contact or when you have written about them is another good time.
The more links you get means the more traffic you get direct from those websites AND the more traffic you’ll get from Google as you move up their ranking system because you are becoming more popular online.
Now as an extra bonus for those of you who want to be extra clever and work a bit harder — here’s how to put your popularity quest on steroids. Each time someone links to you, you might ask them to use very specific words in their link pointing to your product page.
Which words should you use? Again, this is where http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com/ comes in. The very best words to use to link to you are words that people are ACTUALLY using to search for products you have.
BUT remember this is not essential as just getting out there and getting some links!
OK that’s it for this week.
Now get out there and update the content in your Showroom, then tell others about it to gain some links to your site.
By doing these 2 things you’ll be doing the critical stuff to rise to the top of the search engines to get the best quality shopping traffic your time can buy.
Next week we’ll cover either some more search stuff, blogging or tell me what you want to hear about by leaving some comments below.
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